Hands-on: Huawei Ascend Mate 2 review

Huawei has announced the launch of the Ascend Mate 2 at CES 2014 in Las Vegas and Pocket-lint was on hand to get a quick play with the new phablet at the company's press conference on Monday.

The new 6.1-inch smartphone-come-tablet will follow on from the Ascend Mate released in 2013 but most importantly will add 4G connectivity in a thinner, lighter shell.

In terms of specs you get a 6.1-inch 1280 x 720 IPS display and a quad-core 1.6GHz CPU with 4G connectivity. There's a 13-megapixel camera on the back powered by Sony, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera too. Other specs of note include 2GB of RAM, Android 4.3 and Wi-Fi 802.11ac.

That delivers a fairly seamless experience in terms of performance, although the model we play with was still rather buggy - we were told Huawei is still refining the software.

As for the skin on top of Android, it's still very clean and from what we could tell identical to the experience found on the Mate and the P6, albeit with the new features introduced.

The device has got smaller, but only by a fraction, but that makes the giant phone considerably easier to manage even it if is just 0.4mm thinner. In the hand it certainly doesn't feel any bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, for example.

To get around the gigantic screen Huawei has added in a one-handed gesture model that shrinks the size of the keyboard to something more manageable. The keyboard can then be quickly switched for right or left-handed use.

As before with the Mate, the main goal here is to give you a fast, powerful machine and once again Huawei has packed in more than just specs. There's the 4050mHa battery that promises to deliver two days of battery - or as Huawei put it, watching six HD movies back to back - or. rather interestingly, the ability to charge yours or your mates' gadgets too. Stealing battery so to speak. It's a great idea and we really like it.

But it's not just about battery, it's about panoramic selfies and beauty shots. Oh yes. Jumping on the popularity of selfies the Ascend Mate 2 lets you snap a three-shot panoramic of yourself looking cool or stupid (delete accordingly). If that's not enough to get you giddy you can also apply a beauty mode - up to 10 - to your photo to knock years off your age. We've never looked so airbrushed.

Of course there is a catch with all these treats: the size. And while it's got smaller physically since the last offering, it's still a giant that won't appeal to everyone. But if you can deal with the size, then this is certainly one to look out for when it lands in the UK shortly.